Dear Diary


While there was discussion about the Persian Empire and Cyrus II, not much was revealed about how the people of conquered cities felt. This is a fictitious diary entry of an individual living in Babylon in the year 539 BCE, which covers what someone might have felt when Cyrus sieged Babylon.

 

 

Dear Diary,

Belshazzar is at it again.

He has organized a huge feast for his guests, drinking and making merry despite the enemy army at our doorsteps. He has taken leave of his senses, holding this celebration while it was only recently that we had to retreat inwards from the enemies. How can such a person rule over us? I hope he chokes on his drink and dies from asphyxiation.

I have a bad feeling about this. The enemy is too quiet and the winds too still. I do not hear the howls of wild animals outside, but an eerie calmness. This reminds me of the story my grandfather told me of the time the gods were angry at us for making too much noise, and sent a flood to wipe us out.

I pray to Marduk and Ea for the protection of my family. May Marduk recognize my allegiance and loyalty to him. I pray my brood is safe within this walls, and may that detestable Belshazzar be struck down by the Marduk for the atrocities that he has committed.

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Dear Diary,

Praise Marduk and Ea, for Belshazzar is dead! The enemy broke through our walls under the cover of darkness and slew the reigning tyrant! Oh what a joyous day it is! As I join the throngs of people that have taken to the street, there is many talk abound on the streets about the enemies within our walls. Some said that the Persians knew dark magic, appearing within our walls to slay the tyrant so as to use us in their blood sacrifices. Some say that the river gods revealed a secret passageway into the city. Others even speculate that Marduk himself appeared to them in all his glory, and carried them in his watery bosom into the city so as to free us from the tyrant ruler. I sincerely pray that it is latter, and may Marduk and Ea continue to watch over us.

I have seen the enemies, and they are formidable indeed. Adorned in their colorful garbs, they strike an intimidating figure while riding astride on their horses. Their silver gleams with a keen edge, showing both the craftsmanship and care for it. Their king is nowhere to be seen, but I have heard talk that the king of Persians has conquered many a cities, most falling without a hint of resistance. I pray to Marduk and Ea once again for peace to come to our lands and for the Persians to treat us kindly. At long last, the reign of Belshazzar is over! There can be nothing that is worse than Belshazzar.

Right?

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Dear Diary,

Praise Marduk! It seems that I was right all along! The Persians have come to liberate us from the foul tyrant Belshazzar! Amidst the crowds clamouring to see and cheer on the liberating Persians, I saw the Persians marching in, with their king at the forefront.

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Many a Babylonian laid green twigs in front of him in joy at the new peace and new ruler. As we waited with abated breath to hear what he was to say, I cannot help but feel a great joy well up within me. Cyrus the Great, for so he named himself, proclaimed himself both king and savior of the people. He who is blessed by Marduk, and have come upon the various lands to liberate us from tyranny. Cyrus the Great who have come to Babylon's aid when tasked by the blessed Marduk to do so. He who has the army that flows like water, and brings justice and righteousness.  As he stood there proclaiming how he was chosen by Marduk, I wept tears of joy knowing that Marduk has delivered us from evil and have answered my prayers. Praise Marduk! May the glory of Marduk be ever with us!

 

Dear Diary,

The Great Cyrus has spoken; he shall rule from far while a local administrator was to rule over us, for as wise as he is, he is unable to rule over the vast lands that he has acquired. While I am sad that I am unable to have the one anointed by Marduk be here physically, I am consoled by the fact that he would spread the glory of Marduk to the faraway lands.

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The only thing puzzling me now is this; what are these structures that he wants us to build? Are those temples? But who are those temples for? Are they perhaps temples to worship other gods? But does he not say he is the one anointed by Marduk? Why does he subscribe to other gods then? I fear I have broached on territories that I am not meant to dwell on. I once again pray to Marduk, may he now guide me in my future endeavours and protect me and my family from harm. Praise Marduk!

 

Summary

Hi people! Hope you liked our spin off of the diary entries of a Babylonian commoner during the siege of Babylon by Cyrus II. Of course, with every fictitious spin off, there will be assumptions made and historical facts that are left out. This particular paragraph is thus here to address all that issues.

Firstly, though we have made it such that Belshazzar was the big bad guy, there was also another regent at that time for the neo-Babylonians. The regent was known as Nabonidus, who was the one that appointed Belshazzar the ruling individual over the city while he went to be the archaeologist that he so desired to be.

Secondly, it is pretty hazy when it comes to the fall of Babylon. Accounts revealed that it “fell without resistance” while the Hebrew Bible states that the Persians sneaked it and murdered old Belshazzar in cold blood. Seeing that there wouldn't really be a diary entry to write about if it fell peacefully (which is pretty suspicious itself), we have thus used the version as mentioned in the Book of Daniels.

Finally, with regards to the sources, take a look at Cyrus II’s speech here.

 

Hope you guys liked it!

Terry, Mars, Yong Quan